Roundup: Conservatives Continue to Threaten Women’s Rights to Abortion Care in Private Insurance

Women’s Rights Continue to be Threatened by Conservatives Seeking to Eliminate Private Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Various articles today report on the continued threats to women’s rights to basic sexual and reproductive health coverage in health care reform.  The focus is on the role of conservative Democrats, led by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, in seeking language that would prohibit private plans from covering abortion care if in fact any federal funding were found in the same system.

The Washington Post reports:

The abortion dispute centers both on federal subsidies that would be
provided for people who cannot afford health-care coverage themselves
and the much-debated government insurance alternative, which is
included in the House version of the bill but is still being debated in
the Senate. Under a 1976 law, federal funds are generally barred from
being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or to
ensure the life of the mother.

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‘) ;
}Democratic leaders early this summer backed a
provision that would allow people to use subsidies under the bill to
buy insurance plans that cover abortion, but only funds from individual
or employer health-care premiums could go toward paying for an
abortion. Effectively, insurance companies would be tasked with
segregating money from government payments from those coming from
private sources, and only the latter could be used for abortion.

But Stupak and some Democrats, along with congressional Republicans,
have criticized this provision as an accounting distinction. They say
the federal subsidies and the private payments are combined for a
person to buy a health plan; therefore, federal dollars are helping
fund insurance plans that allow abortions.


The Daily Beast in fact underscores the disappointment among members of the pro-choice community on how abortion is currently treated in the bill.

The Pelosi bill contains a number of provisions that would improve
women’s access to affordable health care, including ending “gender
rating”—in which insurers charge women more for coverage—and making it
illegal to classify C-sections, domestic violence, and even pregnancy
as pre-existing conditions that disqualify women for health insurance.
It includes new funding for comprehensive sex education, supplanting
some of the abstinence-only programs favored by the Bush
administration. The bill also aggressively expands Medicaid, the
existing federal health-insurance program for low-income women and
their children, which includes generous birth-control coverage.

But on the narrower issue of abortion access and affordability, the
major pro-choice organizations aren’t shy about expressing their
disappointment: The legislation references abortion more than 25 times,
mostly in an effort to restrict access to the procedure.

“We think all reproductive health care should be treated just like
other health-care services,” said Cecile Richards, the president of
Planned Parenthood. “Unfortunately, in this bill, it isn’t. All the
versions we’re seeing of the health bill single out abortion.”

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told The Daily
Beast: “It’s a disappointment there isn’t more in the bill to
proactively further women’s rights. I wish I was counting ways to
improve women’s access to abortion. But right now, we’re counting ways
to keep women from losing the coverage they already have.”

Clinic buffer zone ordinance struck down

A federal appeals court has struck down a Pittsburgh ordinance that
created two types of buffer zones around facilities that perform
abortions, according to

In a ruling issued Friday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals found the 2005 Pittsburgh ordinance unduly restricted
leafletting and other free speech by abortion protesters. The
Pittsburgh ordinance bans protesters from within 15 feet of entrances,
but also makes them stay eight feet away from clients in a 100-foot
zone around entrances.

The court says either zone, by itself,
could be legal, reports But, combined, the court found the zones violate the
free speech rights of the protesters who find it difficult to hand
leaflets to clinic clients.

City attorneys aren’t commenting on the opinion because they’ve yet to review it.

Church and Conservative Groups Oppose Wisconsin Measure to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies and Infections Among Youth

WITI-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin is reporting that the Catholic Church and conservative groups in Wisconsin are opposing efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies through comprehensive sexual health education.

A bill to be debated in the state Assembly in Madison today would require that schools which teach sex education provide
students with accurate information on the use of birth control. 

Under the measure, if schools opt to teach sexual education, they would
be required to address the health benefits, side effects and proper use
of contraceptives and other methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually
transmitted diseases.

Correct and consistent contraceptive use dramatically reduces unintended pregnancy and hence the need for abortion.  The law is written such that parents can view the instructional materials and chose to not have their child participate in class.

Nonetheless, the measure is being opposed by anti-choice groups and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, both of which claim they want to reduce the number of abortions.  Supporters of the new requirement include Planned Parenthood, groups
representing nurses and health departments, and the state teachers’

November 2, 2009

Parenthood Leader Changes Sides

Upon Seeing
Evil – Kathryn Jean Lopez

Has pro-life movement
struck a nerve?

I Am Zygote,
Hear Me Roar

Pro-Life group gains
access to school facilities

Abortion Flip-Flop Makes Him Unworthy

spiritual conversions, and stimulus money
Washington Examiner

Kennedy Will
Meet With Bishop Tobin After Saying Catholic Church Not

Center for
Adoption Celebrates
Adoption Month

PR adoption proposal
favors married couples

Adoption awareness

Thousands of
kids await
adoption in Texas

Appeals Court
Issues Key Ruling Striking Down Abortion Center Buffer Zone Law

40 Days for
Pro-Life Campaign
Concludes With 2000 Abortions Prevented

Abortion’s Accomplice, Unmasked As a Killer in
Pro-Life Website
Christian News Wire (press release)

Are Feminists
Jealous of Sarah Palin?

want amendment, foes vow fight
Havre Daily News

Under Fire
The Daily Beast

Pittsburgh abortion clinic
buffer law struck down

It’s Not The
Economy, Stupid:
Abortion Is Primary
Issue For GOP

Is Stupak
Really Willing to Make an
Abortion Compromise?

Abortion laws protect
only the abortionist
Shore News Today

Opposition to
Abortion Health Care
Bill Jumps After New Pelosi Bill Introduced

Fate of abortion notification
law unclear
The Southern

US responds
to man accused in
abortion doc threat
Atlanta Journal Constitution

split over
abortion puts
health-care bill in balance

Teens can
demand morning after pill by text

Whose Right
to Sex Education?

CWRU museum
chronicles long history of
Plain Dealer

November 3, 2009

Pro-life congress to
attract more than 1000 from around the world
Catholic News Agency

Shutting Out
Parents; Trusting Strangers
Daily Observer

The trauma of
Washington Post

Abortion Language
Creates Snag For Health Bill

Assembly considers proposal to require teaching of
birth control